The EPA removed an award-winning toxicologist from a chemical review panel at the urging of the chemical-industry lobby, reports the LA Times. Deborah Rice had previously testified in the Maine legislature that deca, used as a flame retardant in electronics, may have adverse effects on brain development. Lobbyists said her damning testimony disqualified her from reviewing it for the EPA.
In what observers say is an unprecedented move, the EPA took her off the panel reviewing evidence of the dangers she had studied, saying it wished to avoid "the perception of a potential conflict of interest.” Environmentalists charge the EPA with applying a "dangerous double standard," saying many pro-industry experts have served on panels in the Bush administration. (Read more Environmental Protection Agency stories.)